Why do I write? Why do you write?

I enjoy writing, but I rarely stop to think about why I actually write, or for whom I am actually writing. For one, I know I write because it feels good, because it helps me to make sense of the thoughts swirling in my head. For all of us anxious ones in the world leading secret anxious lives, writing can be an effective way to diminish the power of the stories that we tell ourselves. The mind is an expert exaggerator; what happens in reality usually does not even form one-tenth of the base of the pyramid of thought that we construct for ourselves.

Writing, for me, is also something very personal. It offers me a chance to pour out my heart and soul, processing the words and sentences as they leave my brain. The words we use help us to make sense of the world; they provide a second layer of meaning. As a child, the first time we laid eyes on something, it was incredible, but the instant that we learned the name of the object we first laid eyes on, our reality was changed forever. Words mark the end of innocence, and the start of recognition. Giving names to our experiences helps us to organize our world into a cohesive whole.

But words can also be used to tear down, to deconstruct the pyramid block by block. I believe that when we share our words with others, we share a part of ourselves. We seek validation and connection. Why else would we write and share it with others if we did not want that? We know that words have the power to impact others. We know that words have the ability to etch landscapes in our minds and guide us to envision a world more beautiful than we could ever imagine. We know that one word by itself is banal and uninteresting, but words arranged in just the right way can make us feel something. Words become sentences, and sentences become ideas, and ideas have the ability to change us. And those ideas, they may be ephemeral, or they may be everlasting. Can we say the same for pyramids? Pyramids by themselves are blocked piled upon one another, but the ideas and words that we associate the mind’s ziggurats give them transformative power.

When we write, what we are really doing is connecting with others. Words written down and left to fend for themselves in a dark, musty corner have no power. It is only when we share our words with others that they become powerful and emboldened. That is why we write. We write so that others might see what we have to say, and that what we say might create an emotional response — and so that an emotional response might lead to another response. The spark of an idea can light the brushfire that becomes a movement.

When we write, we put ourselves out there, waiting for someone to fill the void. I write because I find feeling in words — and in the meaning that they create. I write as much for the sound and feel of the words as for the meaning that they convey. I know the absence of words can convey as much as their presence. I write for myself, and I write for others. I know what resonates with me may very well resonate with someone else, and I know that when we resonate in harmony, the world becomes just a little bit smaller. I write to share my story — and to see if my story intersects with yours. To see if you, by chance, felt the way I do at one time in your life — or can be guided to feel that way now. We don’t need to be telling the same story; in fact, it’s better if we don’t. There is a very good chance that the more you or I write, the more our stories will diverge. But we do need to keep writing, to keep creating, to keep putting ourselves out there. Where we find divergence in our words, we can find convergence in the act of writing itself.

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